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Thread: Computer reboots itself occasionally

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Computer reboots itself occasionally

    When I boot up my computer, on occasion it reboots itself in which I have to then select how to boot Windows.

    I don't think it is a virus as it would get progressively worse at some point, which it hasn't but I still did a scan for malware and virus and found nothing.

    I do not think it is the BIOS or else it would do this all the time.
    However I was beginning to think it is a hardware issue; perhaps the power supply or even the RAM.

    Only once did it reboot while I was using a word processing program.

    What do you guys think? Am I right in assuming it could be hardware related? The problem is not bothersome though I suspect some sort of damage might have occured when my father unplugged one of the computers fans while it was still running so maybe something happened there?

    Thank you kindly.
    Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return.
    To obtain, something of equal value must be lost.
    That is Alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange.
    In those days we really believed that to be the worlds one, and only truth.
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  2. #2
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    Power Supply.

    When your demand exceeds the power delivery capability of your PSU, the PSU custs power and then resets the supply when demand is returned to normal.

    As PSU's now are fairly cheap, this will be your best option, the larget the delivery == more headroom == stability.

    Does this happen after long periods or when running certain programs or having more then a couple of programs running and putting demand on the system? How old is the hardware?

  3. #3
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    Well..I have a 350 watt power supply and usually I do not have anything big running. Just the normal comp speakers, monitor but nothing extrodinary.

    Just today as I was having lunch, the computer which was running but the monitor was in power save mode just rebooted, just like that.

    If the reboot happens it seems to happen during the intial boot up..it does its thing and will reboot..sometimes twice. Only once did it reboot when my father was using WordPerfect and he was simply typing and it rebooted itself.

    So I am thinking it is either the power supply unit itself, the RAM or the power supply in the wall.
    If it was a virus then wouldn't it get progressively worse??

    The hardware is only about four years old. I have a cd and a cd burner but I rarely use them and I have a 256 megabyte videocard but I do not place big demands on that either. The board is a few years old but never gave me problems

    Thanks though and sorry for the late reply.
    Last edited by Dark Dragon; 01-23-2009 at 03:11 PM.
    Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return.
    To obtain, something of equal value must be lost.
    That is Alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange.
    In those days we really believed that to be the worlds one, and only truth.
    - FullMetal Alchemist

  4. #4
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    Your power supply, if it fluctuates even for a nanosecond, it can cause the system to crash and also power demand goes up with the demand in CPU clock cycles, a computer at rest draws less than a computer running several applications and using lots of RAM.

    So don't rule it out so quick.

    You could have some thermal fault on the board or again in the power supply.

    Check all your board components are fully home and are not loose or have any lose power connections as spikes can also trip power suplies,

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the reply and sorry for the late reply too.

    I think you are right, it most likely is the power supply but what frazzles me is this is a fairly recent occurance. I thought at one time it was a glitch caused when my father unplugged a internal fan in the computer while it was still running. BIG mistake, I think it did something to the video card too as the size of the desktop changes slightly whenever a window is open..any window and changes back when it is closed.

    Anywhoo I did not mean to dismiss your suggestions, I was simply saying that aside from Windows, I usually only have one application going. (of course I have AVG running too but it shouldn't draw too much on the CPU..right??)

    I appreciate your help and I will look into this issue further.

    Thanks again.
    Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return.
    To obtain, something of equal value must be lost.
    That is Alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange.
    In those days we really believed that to be the worlds one, and only truth.
    - FullMetal Alchemist

  6. #6
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    Ok. Here is an update. I was listening to some of my MIDI files and after about the seventh one, the computer rebooted itself so after it was fully loaded I listened to a couple more MIDIs and it rebooted again.

    Yesterday as I was updating my AVG it rebooted itself when I was a mere 20 minutes away from completing a 13 mega byte update.

    Is this really indicative of a power supply problem or does it seem more like a processor problem? Could AVG be the culprit?

    Usually the only thing I have active on my computer is the case itself and the monitor.

    I am at a loss because until a few months ago it was running fine and the there does not appear to be a virus anywhere and I doubt reformatting the hard drive will accomplish anything.

    I don't really think there is a big load on the power demand and I can't imagine the city power grid being that unstable. Can a power supply unit go bad that quick???

    Thanks in advance

    P.S I currently have an AMD Athlon 64 processor 2800+ 1.6 Ghz and 1 gig of RAM
    350 watt power supply
    Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return.
    To obtain, something of equal value must be lost.
    That is Alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange.
    In those days we really believed that to be the worlds one, and only truth.
    - FullMetal Alchemist

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Dragon View Post
    Can a power supply unit go bad that quick???
    If you have a unit that came with a defect in it, I would imagine it could. I've had fairly new computer parts go for one reason or another, even though they shouldn't have, based on age and usage alone. I even once took my car to a mechanic to get something with a headlight fixed. Took it home, next day BOTH headlights burned out. Took it back to the incredulous mechanic. He looked at the car and said "I don't believe it. Both f**kin' headlights burned out."

    Oh, and I've experienced a similar problem to yours several times. It was either a dying fan, a burned out chip or a near-dead hard drive.
    "Why must I be surrounded by frikkin' idiots?!" - Dr. Evil

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  8. #8
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    Power demands go up when the CPU is under workload. The more the demand that is put on a power supply that is close to its minimum operating supply capacity, all it takes is a minor drop out, were talking milliseconds here, then the supply resets and power is lost to the board and your computer reboots.

    If your running with a thermal fault, this could be anywhere on the board, the CPU coupld be suffering from thermal migration which is where the CPU chip has eased its way out of the socket from many cycles of heating and cooling. This is simply fixed by un hooking the lever to the ZIF socket and then closing the lever to the ZIF socket on the CPU mounting. Similar can happen to RAM, so try to release and refit the ram chips.

    The real acid test would be to buy a larger capacity power supply, fit it to your machine and see if the problem goes away, if it does, then you have solved the problem and far cheaper than swapping out a board.

    I am basing this on my own experience of a similar situation where I was suffering BSOD and reboots.

  9. #9
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    Hello Everyone

    I finally resolved my computer problem. It was the hard drive.
    What happened yesterday was I had learned of a tip on a blog site about adjusting what is called the ACPI power settings and to change it to "Standard PC" settings.

    That is when it really all came down. The computer entered its new mode and went through the "recognizing new hardware" speil then the screen went blank. That was SO not good so I tried to reboot and no go so I figured I better remedy this quick so I tried to reformat using my windows disk..it got as far as the "Setup is analyzing configuration" or some such rot and that-was-that.

    So I went to a local repair shop, bought a 20 gig HD for $10 and installed windows and all is well with the world again.

    I just wan to say a word of warning..be VERY careful of any tips you see on the net, I had no idea this ACPI alteration would kill my computer.

    And thanks for all the help too.
    Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return.
    To obtain, something of equal value must be lost.
    That is Alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange.
    In those days we really believed that to be the worlds one, and only truth.
    - FullMetal Alchemist

  10. #10
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    Sorry, that does not compute.

    I would suggest you grab a copy of something like Ubuntu and install it to the so called duff drive and see what happens.

    Reason being is that this PC that according to WindowsXP that was on the system, the modem, USB ports, one DVD Drive and other issue were causing it not to function properly. The very second I use Linux on the machine, all the "Faulyt" components functioned without an issue.

    I have noticed plenty of systems that are windows based all eventually cease to work proplerly and I believe this to be intentional by Microsoft. IMHO theirs every reason to try pputting Linux on that "Faulty" drive to see if it does function again without issue. Ubuntu costs nothing but the download time and install time.

    I have my serious doubts about Microsoft, if what the M$ install was saying was true, then I shouldn't be able to use the modem or flash drives plugged in to it or be able to burn DVD's on the DVD Burner which was not recognised under WinXP.

    Glad you got it sorted... or did you??? (Pssst, Linux)

  11. #11
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    Thank you for your suggestion; I am toying with the idea of either Linux or switching to a Macintosh. However I cannot argue the results I got after switching hard drives. The ACPI settings may simply have been the proverbial straw that broke the camels back..especially since I have been having this rebooting issue for a couple of months even before I did the ACPI adjustment. Even reformatting the hard drive didn't do the trick so...I will stick with my smaller drive and see what happens. (Yes, you are right..Linux does seem like the sensible option )
    Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return.
    To obtain, something of equal value must be lost.
    That is Alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange.
    In those days we really believed that to be the worlds one, and only truth.
    - FullMetal Alchemist

  12. #12
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    If you have any questions about a Mac let me know.

  13. #13
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    I just ordered an additional 1 Gigabyte of RAM as well as a new surge protector. I figure it may be something other than the motherboard as I unchecked the box "Restart on System Failure" in the Advanced Tab of the "My Computer" Properties. The computer still reboots but not as often so I will leave the motherboard as a last resort.
    Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return.
    To obtain, something of equal value must be lost.
    That is Alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange.
    In those days we really believed that to be the worlds one, and only truth.
    - FullMetal Alchemist

  14. #14
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    You have not stated any specs or how old your system is, remember that the Mobo may be a couple of years older than the system, you find that a machine built in 2008 could hav a mobo built in 2006. Fact is that most computers on the market are an average of 2 ~ 4 years old when you buy them, so nothing is new.

    Simply installing a larger PSU will often cure issues and is the cheapest option.

    Other things like thermal migration can pose a problem just a dust in the cooling fins of the system will cause the system to shut down.

    In my experience, these reboot problems are or have all been down to PSU not being beefy enough to power the board and all the devices plugged in to it.

    If you suffer surge and spikes, this will also trip your system up. I would say that a backup power supply that sits between you and the PC will be a big improvement to the system stability and I would say that if you can pay for one, get the biggest one with the most uptime available as I bought one and that is only powerful enough to keep my system up for 10 mins, long enough to power down.

    ALSO, if you do, get one that has DC outlets for the other equipment like modems and routers.

    If your sure that your system is not rebooting as much after turning off the reboot on failure, this may signify that the issue is to do with hardware or a component on the mobo. I have only had one mobo failure and even then the failure only resulted in half the speed, it was a 700Mhz board and it ran at 350Mhz, something that the shop failed to spot. I sent the board off to Aopen who replaced it and told me I was correct and they told me that the board was from a batch that was possibly faulty.

    I later learned that it is common practice by manufacturers to sell off job lots (eg, 1000 at a time) and you got good with bad and they also have a device that does something called a port 80 check, nothing to do with web or servers but port 80 on the mobo is a way of talking to the board to see if it responds with any errors.

    Although this is not your issue, it could be a board issue that has crept in up with age.

    Computers eh!
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  15. #15
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    Do a search for a file called reboot.*
    It is a virus. Usually in one of the system folders under the Windows folder. Also check to see if it runs from the srartup on your desktop.

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